James R. Brown, lawyer and abstracter, practicing at Sullivan, is a native of Wabash county, Illinois, born September 14, 1872, son of John and Eliza (Cisel) Brown. The father was born in 1832 and died in November, 1872. The grandfather, James Brown, a native of England, born about 1795, came to the United States in 1820, locating in Virginia. He removed to Illinois and there spent the remainder of his days. Grandfather Thomas Cisel was born in Ohio in 1807, and went to Illinois on a raft, run down the Wabash river, in 1814. The family settled at a point within Wabash county. He was of English descent, and always followed farming for his livelihood. The Cisels were all radical Democrats, while the Browns were Republican in their political views.

John Brown, the father of James R., was also a sturdy fanner who, at the date of his death, owned about two hundred and fifty acres of choice land. He took a deep interest in church work, belonging to the Methodist Episcopal denomination, and was a trustee in that church nearly all of his life. The five children born to Mr. and Mrs. John Brown were named as follows, in the order of their birth: Mary, Aura, and Leander, deceased; Laura M., wife of H. A. Price, of Allendale, Illinois, where he is engaged in the mercantile business; James R., of this memoir. After the death of the father, the mother married, in 1882, J. V. B. Wright. She died in April, 1899. There were no children by this marriage, and Mr. Wright now resides on a farm in Knox county, Indiana.

James R. Brown was reared in Allendale, Illinois, to which place his mother moved four months after the death of the husband and father. The son, having finished his course at the public schools of Allendale, entered and graduated from the scientific course with the class of 1895, at the Central Normal College at Danville, Indiana. He then entered the State University, at Bloomington, Indiana, from which institution he was graduated in 1896. He was admitted to the bar of the supreme court of Indiana in the same year. He then began the practice of law at Martinsville, Indiana, forming a partnership with W. H. Pigg. This law firm removed to Sullivan in 1897, and continued in the practice until 1900, since which date Mr. Brown has been in independent practice. He also conducts an abstract business, with Joseph S. Schroeder, who in this branch of the business is a partner. This is the only abstract office within Sullivan county, and they do a large business and carry it on along approved and correct lines. Mr. Brown is secretary of the Sullivan County Loan Association; also president of the Sunday School Association, as well as being treasurer of the Tri-State Oil Company, all of which causes him to be a very busy man. In fraternal society matters he is connected with the Masonic, Ben Hur, Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors societies. In Masonry, he belongs to the blue lodge and Eastern Star degrees.

August 28, 1896, Mr. Brown was married to Sadie Holsen, a native of Wabash county, Illinois, born January 25, 1875. She was educated in her native county. Her parents were Frederic and Nancy (Kneippe) Holsen, the former born in Germany and now living in Wabash county, and the latter a native of Wabash county, where she died in 1892. The father is a grain dealer and miller, living at Allendale, Illinois. Five sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Brown: John Stanley, Rolland, Thomas Cisel, Darrel and Marcell. The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which Mr. Brown is financial secretary, and he has been a class leader for the last six years.